Whenever the operator of a large truck, big rig, or tractor-trailer causes a collision with a smaller vehicle, the driver and occupants of the smaller vehicle are usually on the short end of the stick. In general, these individuals suffer more serious injuries and damages, especially if the collision occurs with a significant amount of force and causes the vehicle occupants to violently move around in the vehicle at the time of the impact.
Victims of truck accidents often sustain very serious injuries. These injuries are especially serious if the accident victim strikes something in the vehicle at the time of the collision, such as a window, the headrest, the steering wheel, the console, or some other part of the vehicle. In some serious truck accident cases, the force of the collision might eject a driver or passenger from their vehicle. Common injuries that victims of truck accidents may sustain include traumatic head injuries, fractures, neck and spinal cord injuries, and soft tissue contusions.
If an accident victim can prove that a truck driver, trucking company, or some other person or entity is responsible for the accident, then they can sue for various types of monetary compensation and damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, inconvenience, pain and suffering, permanent disability, loss of use of a body part, loss of earning capacity, and loss of spousal companionship or consortium. If the collision causes the accident victim’s untimely death, then the personal representative of the accident victim’s estate or the accident victim’s surviving loved ones could file a wrongful death lawsuit.
When it comes to truck accidents, some jurisdictions throughout the country are fault-based. There, accident victims can directly sue the at-fault party (and indirectly the at-fault party’s insurance company). In no-fault jurisdictions, the accident victim must typically file a claim with their own insurance company, except in cases when the accident victim sustained a permanent injury or when the costs of treatment exceeded the limits of the accident victim’s personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
If you have suffered an injury in a truck accident that occurred because of a truck driver, trucking company, or someone else’s negligence, an experienced truck accident attorney in your jurisdiction could assist you with pursuing the monetary compensation and damages that you need and deserve. A lawyer can file a claim on your behalf, and if it becomes necessary, can file a lawsuit in the state court system for your jurisdiction, seeking various types of monetary compensation in the form of damages.
Parties to Sue Following a Truck Accident
Before determining the types of damages that you can pursue recovery following a truck accident, you need to identify the parties you could name as defendants in a lawsuit that you file in the state court system. First and foremost, you can file a lawsuit against the truck driver who caused your accident. Truck accidents can occur for many reasons, but in many cases, they boil down to a truck driver’s error or omission.
Truck drivers are often in a hurry to get to their final destinations, and in fact, many trucking companies offer their drivers incentives to deliver their cargo ahead of schedule. As a result, truck drivers are known for speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, driving while fatigued, and engaging in distracted driving. Distracted driving often includes using a cell phone, tablet, or another electronic device while operating a truck on the road.
Truck drivers also sometimes rely upon drugs and other substances to keep them awake (and driving) for long hours on end. However, these substances sometimes have the opposite effect and can delay a driver’s reaction time or otherwise cause the driver to collide with another vehicle on the roadway.
In addition to naming a negligent truck driver as a defendant in a lawsuit, you can generally name the trucking company that employs the driver who caused your accident. In some jurisdictions, simply under the employment relationship, a trucking company may bear responsibility for the negligent acts of its truck driver employee, assuming that the accident occurred while the driver was on the job and within the scope of their job duties.
In addition, if the truck driver employee has a history of negligent driving citations and similar offenses, you could sue the trucking company for negligent hiring, supervision, or retention of the problem truck driver.
Further, some truck accidents occur because of defective parts on the tractor or trailer that malfunction, such as steering mechanisms and braking systems. If a mechanical defect on the truck, tractor, or trailer causes or contributes to a truck accident, then the truck accident victim can name the manufacturer or distributor of the defective part as a defendant in any lawsuit that they file in the state court system.
Finally, in some truck accident cases, the collision does not occur because of a truck driver or trucking company’s ineptitude or negligence. In fact, the truck driver may have been doing everything that they were supposed to be doing on the road under the circumstances. Instead, the accident may have occurred because of another motor vehicle driver’s negligence. If a third-party caused or contributed to the truck accident in which you sustained an injury, you could potentially name that driver as a defendant in your lawsuit.
An experienced truck accident attorney near you can investigate the circumstances and facts surrounding your truck accident and can help you determine which individuals or entities you should sue for monetary compensation and damages. Your lawyer can also ensure that your truck accident lawsuit is filed within the applicable statute of limitations for your jurisdiction.
When to File a Lawsuit Arising From a Truck Accident
If a truck accident was caused by another person’s carelessness or negligence and left you injured, a truck accident lawyer in your jurisdiction could file a lawsuit on your behalf. The truck accident lawyer will typically file a lawsuit after negotiations with the at-fault driver’s insurance company break down or when the insurance company is not willing to offer you sufficient monetary compensation for the injuries and damages that you sustained in your accident.
To recover the various types of available damages in a truck accident lawsuit, the accident victim has the burden of proof. Specifically, the accident victim must demonstrate that the truck driver and or some other individual or entity owed a duty of care and violated that duty, resulting in the truck accident and subsequent injuries.
The accident victim may then be eligible to pursue and recover monetary compensation for the injuries and damages they suffered. A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your jurisdiction can help you prove all of the legal elements necessary to pursue and recover damages in your truck accident lawsuit.
Potential Types of Monetary Compensation and Damages Available to You in a Truck Accident Lawsuit
An accident victim can sue for monetary compensation and damages as part of a truck accident case. Individuals who sustain one or more injuries in a truck accident often have to undergo medical treatment, including doctor visits, hospital and emergency room visits, surgical procedures, and physical therapy, among others.
All of this medical treatment costs money, and when an accident victim has to treat for a significant time, the medical bills can mount up quickly. Therefore, as part of a truck accident lawsuit, an accident victim can pursue monetary compensation for all of their related medical costs. An accident victim can still recover this compensation if they had Medicare, Medicaid, or private health insurance in place that paid for some or all of these medical expenses.
In addition to medical expenses, accident victims often have to miss a significant time from work, during which they do not receive their salary. The accident victim may need to attend medical and physical therapy appointments, or the accident victim’s injuries may prohibit them from working in any full-time or part-time capacity.
In some instances, the accident victim might have to switch to a lighter duty assignment and take a pay cut after being injured in a truck accident. In these circumstances, the accident victim could file a claim for lost wages or loss of earning capacity because of the injuries they suffered in the accident.
In addition to medical expenses, lost earnings, and other out-of-pocket costs that an accident victim sustains, an accident victim could also sue for non-economic damages. These damages compensate accident victims for inconvenience, pain and suffering, mental distress, emotional anguish, and other damages on which an injured person cannot put a price tag.
Some injuries that an accident victim suffers in a truck accident may prevent them from using a body part. For example, if a truck accident victim suffers a paralysis injury, they could no longer move any part of the body below the waist. When an injury like that occurs because of a truck driver’s negligence, the accident victim could file a claim for the lost use of a body part.
Similarly, truck accidents can injure victims to such a terrible extent that they cannot take part in the same social and recreational activities as before their accident. For example, if the accident victim was a member of a sports league or gym, they could no longer take part in those activities following the accident because of their injuries. When that is the case, the accident victim could file a claim for loss of enjoyment of life.
Moreover, following some truck collisions, accident victims are injured to such an extent that they can no longer enjoy sexual intimacy with their spouse. When that is the case, the accident victim could sue for loss of spousal companionship or consortium.
Finally, in the worst types of truck accidents, the accident victim may pass away because of their injuries. When that happens, the accident victim’s surviving loved ones could bring a wrongful death claim. The types of compensation available in a wrongful death claim, as well as the individuals who may file a wrongful death claim, vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
In some states, for example, only the personal representative of the deceased loved one’s estate can bring a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. In others, any surviving family member can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Moreover, the surviving loved ones could receive various types of monetary compensation and damages as part of a wrongful death lawsuit. Those damages might include burial and funeral costs, medical expenses leading up to the time of the loved one’s death, and future lost wages if the surviving loved ones were dependent upon the accident victim’s income.
If a truck accident has left you or someone you care about injured, an experienced truck accident attorney in your area could help you file a lawsuit seeking one or more of these types of damages. The amounts and types of monetary compensation available in a truck accident case depend on the severity of the accident, the nature and extent of the injuries, and the number of medical bills incurred.
Victims of truck accidents are not only left injured and unable to work while facing overwhelming mounting medical bills, but they also have the daunting task of attempting to receive compensation for their injuries and inconvenience. Thankfully, you do not have to face such a challenge alone. Your truck accident lawyer can review the facts and circumstances of your case and help you to pursue the maximum amount of compensation available to you in your case.
Never wait to find the best truck accident attorney near you, who can help you file the right lawsuit against the right parties.